UPDATE: KVZK, ASTCA team up to bring NBC to the territory
Just in time for the the 2014 Winter Olympic Games this week in Sochi, Russia, the American based NBC television network programs are now being broadcast live on state-run KVZK-TV Channel 5 with the assistance of the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA).
Office of Public Information director Fagafaga Daniel Langkilde and ASTCA executive director Moefaauo Bill Emmesley held a joint news conference last Friday at KVZK-TV studios to announce the official launching of live NBC programs for local residents. The news conference was aired live.
Fagafaga says this joint effort with ASTCA is in line with Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s directive for all department and agencies to work collaboratively to find ways to improve the quality of life for local residents.
“This is just the beginning of many more projects we are looking at working together on, utilizing the technology which is available to us and pooling our resources to be able to provide new and innovative services to our community,” he said.
While KVZK is broadcasting NBC programs — which include NBC Sports, NBC world and national news and news from Hawai’i through the NBC affiliate KHNL — ASTCA is providing the bandwidth to transport the signal feed from Honolulu to the territory, he said.
NBC is the American network given the rights to broadcast in the U.S. a live feed of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games and Fagafaga says the launching comes just in time for the games, which begin this Thursday with some sporting events. The official opening is the following day, Friday.
He also provided for reporters a complete schedule of Olympic broadcast events, including time zones.
Fagafaga thanked the governor for supporting this joint project right from the start, saying Lolo had “encouraged us to find a way to be able to bring in this live feed for the benefit of our people”.
And when it seemed almost impossible, Fagafaga recalled what the governor told them, “With all the new technology out there, there must be a way we can do it. Find it.”
Moefa’auo called the joint project’s launching “significant” and a “milestone”, saying the two entities joined together with the “ultimate goal to provide excellent service to the public which we serve.”
He also said the relationship between the two agencies has been “fruitful” since the beginning of the Lolo Administration and cited as an example, the Manu’a Flag Day being broadcast live from Ta’u Island last July, which was the first time that had ever been done.
Thereafter, he said, there have been other live feeds where the two entities worked together “to really bring focus on what two agencies working together can achieve… if we collaborate, using the resources… given to us for the purpose of serving the community.”
Fagafaga thanked Moefa’auo and the ASTCA board of directors for their support. He also acknowledged the support of Rick Blangiardi, president of NBC affiliate KHNL; NBC executives Jean Dietze and Judi Kritch for their assistance in extending the affiliation agreement allowing KVZK to broadcast NBC programs.
Moefa’auo says it’s an honor for him to support KVZK in its effort to bring live programs to the community, “and in connecting to that, we also have a project that is currently on going” and “we look forward to more collaborative efforts” with KVZK.
He also shared the public is well aware, that “our fiber optic network is currently being put in place. Within that fiber optic, ASTCA will also implement and institute its own TV programs. Thus we’re looking forward to working together with KVZK in making that effort also possible — all in the name of serving the public’s interest.” (See separate story in today’s edition on ASTCA’s fiber cable project.)
Asked by the news media to give examples of future projects the two entities are working on — or will be working jointly on — Fagafaga says it's a “little early for us to let the cat out of the bag”, but he believes the community “will be very happy with what we have to offer.”
Regarding a fee which KVZK pays NBC for rebroadcasting its signal, Fagafaga says there is a cost for bringing the NBC programming to the territory and the fee is levied by NBC itself. Additionally, this year, in particular, all of the network televisions raised their fees, for all television broadcast stations across the country.
He said the fee paid for NBC programming is “not significant if you look at the big picture, considering the service we provide our people.”
CBS PROGRAM GLITCHES
KVZK for more than two years has been carrying live CBS television network programs — on digital KVZK Channel 5-point-4 which is also aired on Bluesky Moana cable TV Channel 8. But for the past several months, KVZK has been experiencing problems with the broadcast signal from Honolulu based KGMB, the CBS affiliate.
(Around 3p.m. Friday — Channel 8 with Bluesky Moana TV stopped broadcasting, but was back on air by Sunday morning. )
When asked for an explanation about the problem, Fagafaga said KVZK engineers along with their counterparts at Moana TV had been trying to identify the source of the problem and it was originally thought the source was in American Samoa.
But after “eliminating all the possibilities” in the territory, the source was then traced to KGMB, whose officials said they, too, were experiencing the same problem, Fagafaga said, adding it was later traced back to the original source, "which is a satellite upload facility in California” where engineers were working on resolving the problem.
Fagafaga was asked as to what is being done to ensure the same problem does not occur with the CBS feed. He replied that KVZK had been “experiencing some glitches with the NBC feed during our test runs — but not as much as CBS.”
He said both KVZK and the Honolulu affiliate of NBC are aware of this problem and are working on it, “hopefully eliminating that problem as well.”